How to create the best project tracking report?
Tracking projects is not easy. It takes a lot of time and team effort to present status updates in a consistent schedule. Also, to create a great report of this, you must learn how to present the status of your project to your customer. If you are worried about writing such reports, you do not have to because free digital software can be your tool to make the task easier for you.
You always have to keep in mind that reporting updates is a crucial part of project management so that key people such as stakeholders, managers, and team members will be able to track the milestone of the project and most importantly, to foresee issues. This allows them to start planning at the earliest possible time to resolve the issues, and control the progress.
Collect data from the very start
Time is one of the most important features to consider when tracking your project. Your countdown of the project milestone starts immediately at Day 1. It is important to document relevant data, and even the most basic ones, from the very start. This is because the initial status of the project will be the best data to help you and the team compare the progress after a certain period of time. All the information you get since Day 1 will be the info you need when you write your project tracking report.
Once you have your initial data, it is equally important to continue documenting information about your project. It is highly recommended that you, together with the managers and team members, record project details daily. You may think it is such a hassle and may consume a lot of time, but this task of logging daily data can actually be easy and simple through a digital site diary. It is a free software tool that project managers and assigned team members can use to record data in real-time. Data entry may be their latest work, completed tasks, issues encountered, budget management, schedule adjustments, and other important events.
Report the latest project status weekly
Direct your team members to record the project’s details daily. Afterward, compile the information, create a summary of it, and analyze the progress by the end of the week. Always compare your data from the baseline to the latest so that you can track the improvements of the progress. Set a schedule at least once a week for reporting the latest project status. This practice allows effective monitoring of the progress. It also then provides clear and consistent updates to the whole team, especially to stakeholders and managers.
Or follow the team’s reporting schedule
Weekly reporting is best advised, however, you must still follow the reporting schedule set by your management. At the end of the day, project tracking still depends on the kind of project handled. Some project management set a schedule once a month, some even quarterly, or yearly. What matters the most is that the tracking report will help the whole team track down the progress and evaluate the current status of the project. At the same time, to serve as a communication channel between stakeholders, managers, and team members, so they can plan and manage accordingly.
Key points to remember when writing your project tracking report
A project tracking report is a crucial part of project management. This is why it is very important to keep in mind the features that your report must contain to ensure that you end up with a great one.
Incorporate the simple details
Always include general information such as the project name, project type, the manager or other key people, and any other relevant basic details about the project. Do not think that all stakeholders already know the facts : present them every time.
It is also important to inform them at the very start of the type of report that you will be presenting. Project reports can be presented to a more specific type such as snag reports, handover, tasks management, inspections, checklists, or site monitoring. A project tracking report is the umbrella term. This is when you present bits of information from all the mentioned specificities, at a general level, to get the overall status of your project.
Compare past and present progress
Always go back to the history of your project. This is why you were advised earlier to track progress daily and summarize it weekly for a less hassle comparison. This way you get to compare fewer details every week as when you do it monthly. You can present past and present details through a Gantt chart for better visual comparison. When you get to compare data, you get to see the improvements of your project. At the same time, it will also give you the insight to see if a part of the project is not progressing.
Create a concise report
Make sure that what you present is already the “summary” of the work. You do not have to deliver all the details because it can take you the whole day to finish. Give importance to the time of your team. Assume they have other work to attend to, so it is vital to carry out your reporting as concise and comprehensive as possible. Analyze the details you have and just present the final results of the work.
Raise the issues encountered
Aside from constant updates of the work progress, one of the reasons why project tracking reports are done is to identify issues as early as possible. This way, designated teams can be tapped to manage the issue and prevent further damage or risk. Always include unexpected problems encountered within the progress.
Never forget budget audit
Always include the track report of the budget. It is vital that the management of the budget is according to the allocated plan initially. Over-expense of the budget may lead to problems in the future. Funds must be monitored consistently.
Are you still having a hard time?
Writing a project tracking report may be challenging because it is a work that is essential to ensure that the progress is developing according to plan. If you are the one assigned to do this work, always keep in mind that your main goal is to update your team on the milestone. Make use of technology to help you with your reports.
Get help from a software
Writing reports can be a challenging task and may require a certain level of critical thinking. This is why reporting is usually a task that is assigned to a manager because they have the experience and training. Most of the time, data must be analyzed through Excel and presented via a Gantt chart that you have to work on. However, with the advancement of technology, anyone from the team can actually create a report now. The task is now as simple as data entry with the help of various tools and software. This time, you only need to enter details and the overall results can automatically be analyzed.
Follow a template
If you are already familiar with creating reports, you can simply just follow a template to save you time. It is also recommended that you use a structured template customized for your project so that presentation of reports will be organized all throughout the progress.